Los Angeles: the city that people love to hate and hate to love. Here are five of the biggest rumors that I’d like to address in regards to the much hated on Tinsel Town.
Rumor #1: We don’t have seasons.
We actually do have seasons, they’re just enjoyable. If you walk around Los Angeles in the fall, leaves are changing colors and cover the streets. During the winter we don’t get snow, but if we drive 90 minutes away there is snow that we can play in, which in my opinion, is better. Come spring time, flowers are in full bloom and if you’re in Hollywood you will see these amazing purple trees take over the roads. And of course there are our summers which start early and end late. So enough about having no seasons — we’ve got them and we love them.
Rumor #2: There’s no real heart to L.A.
Okay, I have to approach this in two ways. Firstly, there is a heart to L.A. Anyone who has driven the 10 west into Downtown L.A. knows this. It’s like this beautiful, pulsating city of Oz that elevates itself up from the flatness that surrounds it. I still melt every time I drive in, especially at night when its lit up and gleaming. Downtown L.A. is our heart, and if you look at a map with streets and grids, you can see that pretty clearly. My second response to this rumor is that though DTLA is our heart, we have a handful of other strong arteries helping to pulsate the city. It’s actually totally awesome that there is more than one place to have fun: go to a movie premiere in Hollywood, surf in Venice, go to a fancy restaurant in Beverly Hills, go to the rose gardens in Pasadena, go on the Pier in Santa Monica, go bar hopping in WeHo, and so forth. It’s a spread out city, yes, but there are hubs, and there is definitely a heart that keeps it beating.
Rumor #3: We suck because we drive.
Everyone wants to hate on us because we drive…everywhere. But the truth of the matter is, there is something remarkably unique about exploring the city (and there’s a lot of city to explore) from your car, your vehicle, your pod, your mobile home. Angelenos have symbiotic relationships with their cars. There’s something comforting in the fact that if you need to escape, you can. You don’t need a train ticket, a plane ticket or a bus fare, you just need your keys and the road. It’s Disney-esque, like a ride. You travel through this ever expanding coastal land at a perfect 72 degrees, sipping a coke, and singing along to Stevie Nicks, or Icona Pop, or whoever’s playing on the radio. You make dirty faces at whoever just cut you off, and ignore the guy flipping you the bird after you just cut him off. L.A. drivers speak their own language. We understand that when a light turns red two cars can still make a left, and we’ll allow it. Traffic can be a pain in the ass, but the immensity of it is uniquely L.A. While being stuck in gridlock at 11pm on a Sunday night makes no sense at all, it kind of excites me because it demonstrates just how thriving this city is.
Rumor #4: There’s no culture or history.
Not only does L.A. have an iconic history, but it practically built the rest of the United States’ history. Yes, you’re in the midst of ever emerging new age yoga studios, oxygen bars and cupcake ATMs, but you’re also surrounded by America’s past. Hollywood, specifically, is the land where American cinema was made, and at least to me, American cinema is American history. There’s something thrilling in the fact that when my boyfriend and I walk to get unnecessary donuts at two in the morning on a Tuesday night we are walking by the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute on Santa Monica Boulevard where Marilyn Monroe first took acting classes. There’s something remarkable about the fact that as you walk down La Brea passing the ridiculous strip clubs on a Saturday afternoon, you’re also passing by the Jim Henson Company where imagination fuelled stuffed puppets that filled your childhood. There’s something slightly breath-taking that as you stand at the top of Griffith Park and look through the smog at the Hollywood sign, it’s the same sign that has been in over 50 films that you’ve probably only ever seen a quarter of. And don’t even get me started on Hollywood Boulevard.
Rumor #5: The people in L.A. are superficial.
I used to say this before I moved to L.A., and now I feel like a dumb-ass for it. People think L.A. is all about appearance, but what I’ve come to learn is that it’s more about health and feeling your best. People in L.A. are all about being organic and living a fit life. I literally have 4 Trader Joes within a two miles radius of my apartment and there is an insanely large, amazing Farmer’s Market open EVERY DAY on Third Street. I actually quit smoking and started working out when I moved to Hollywood because everyone around me was generally interested in making efforts to proactively feel their best, and that was a huge motivator. For example, I try to go to free yoga at Runyon Canyon a couple of times a week. FREE OUTDOOR YOGA. Pay when you can, come when you can’t. I love that. If you go to Venice Beach during anytime of the year you will literally see hundreds of bikers riding from pier to pier. And just look at these Angelenos running the annual city-wide marathon on Sunset Boulevard, I couldn’t even hate them for making me late to work that day.
So there you have it. Next time you’re reading an article on why L.A. sucks, realize that it probably was written by someone who doesn’t live here.